Kate Shanahan is rubbing shoulders with her heroes this summer

·3-min read
Katie Shanahan will compete as part of Team Scotland at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Katie Shanahan was just 10 years old when Ross Murdoch won Commonwealth Games gold in Glasgow.

And eight years later, the Bishopbriggs swimmer will join him on Team Scotland for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The 18-year-old will compete in her favoured backstroke and individual medley events and is thrilled to be amongst Team Scotland athletes she once admired from afar.

With the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games set to inspire people and communities across the country this summer, Shanahan hopes sharing her story will give others motivation to get involved in sport and turn their dreams into reality.

She said: "I was very young, but I do remember watching on the TV. I remember watching Ross win the 200 Breast.

"I think that team in 2014 was so strong and now following in those footsteps and in the legacy, that's been made is really good.

"Hopefully, there will be some more fast racing in Birmingham and I'm sure everyone will be behind us.

"It's mad to be on a team with these people. Being with the likes of Duncan Scott, Lucy Hope, Ross and all these top-class athletes.

"And now knowing Ross and all the experience he's had with multiple Commonwealth Games and Olympics, it's really good being able to learn from him and being a friend of his, knowing I was watching him when I was ten.

"Ross always has such a good story to tell, you can go to him to have a laugh."

Shanahan finished her junior season on a high with six medals at the 2021 European Junior Championships.

She made her senior debut at the 2021 European Championships before going on to represent London Roar in the International Swimming League, thankful for the opportunities she was given.

This summer, Team Scotland, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, will compromise of over 250 athletes, and having secured her place on the squad, Shanahan is looking for medal success.

She said: "Being part of the ISL team and even senior Europeans last year, that's really helped me transition from junior to senior.

"I know for some people it's not an easy transition and a bit up and down and take them a few years to be selected for some senior teams, so I am grateful to have been picked.

"I think ISL helped me gain so much knowledge, experience, and stuff and watching Olympic medallists and world champions.

"Sometimes I actually had to sit back and pinch myself because I was on a team with all these people, and it was so mad and so good."

Shanahan is now one of over than 1,100 elite athletes on UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Programme, allowing them to train full time, have access to the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science, and medical support.

In the journey to secure her first senior international medal, Shanahan will face 15-year-old Canadian swimming prodigy Summer McIntosh in the 400m Individual Medley.

But the Team Scotland athlete is excited to see how the race will play out after the event has progressed so much in four years.

She said: "It's actually really crazy to think about how much this event has come on over the past years.

"Thinking back to 2018, the top three in the 400IM have all retired so it's not as if we're going to have any of them. It's all fresh meat.

"And I think the 400IM is quite youthful as well, there's a lot of younger girls like Summer McIntosh and myself.

"It's genuinely anyone's race and I think it will be a fast time to win it."

National Lottery players raise more than £30million a week for good causes including vital funding into sport – from grassroots to elite. Find out how your numbers make amazing happen at: www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk and get involved by using the hashtag: #TNLAthletes.

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